SOTA tour across the Hell
The second week of August 2010 Peter OE5RTP and me, Inge OE5IRO started our tour across the “Höllengebirge” in Upper Austria which can best be translated as “Hell’s Mountains”. We posted our forthcoming activations and checked our equipment: my Icom IC-E90 with a super-dipol antenna, Peter’s Icom IC-E90 with a Nagoya 767 telescopic antenna, a Yaesu FT-817 for 2m ssb, 6m ssb and 40m ssb, a self-made amplifier for 40m with 150W output, a fibreglasmast, a self-made Inverted-V dipole antenna, an SWR/power meter, a 6m telescopic antenna, a HB9CV directional antenna for 2m/70cm, mounting equipment, two 12V lead-acid batteries, battery chargers, digital cameras, mobile phones, summer clothes, rain clothes etc. … altogether a 12kg rucksack for me and a 20kg one for Peter.
Saturday morning , it was raining cats and dogs, nonetheless we started our tour to Hochlecken OE/OO-037 and Brunnkogel OE/OO-033 hoping it would clear up. Unfortunately it didn’t and after a two hour’s walk we arrived soaking wet at the Hochlecken house knowing we had to postpone our activations for that day. Luckily we could dry our equipment and clothes on the local Kachelofen and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying traditional Austrian food like Kaiserschmarrn, which can best be translated as “Emperor’s nonsense”. It is a light caramelized pancake made from sweet batter with flour, eggs, sugar, salt and milk baked in butter and served with plum compote.
Sunday morning the sun was shining but we had lost one day and all our efforts to correct the postings were in vain due to a lacking Internet connection. Hoping experienced chasers would know about the inevitable powers of nature we started activating Brunnkogel OE/OO-033 from where we had our first summit-to-summit contacts. We worked our Austrian SOTA manager Christian OE1CWA who was activating a summit on the other end of the Hell’s Mountain range on 2 m ssb and Christian OE5HCE, our Austrian Number 1 activator as well as Heinz OE5EEP and Gerhard OE5PGM on 2m fm. Hochleckenkogel OE/OO-037 and Brennerin OE/OO-051 followed with 2m activations.
Monday morning, a little cloudy but dry and perfect hiking weather for our longest tour which led us across the biggest part of the mountain range over the Grünalmkogel OE/OO-217 to the Rieder mountain hut, altogether a nine hour’s walk including the activation and two short breaks. The path was rather small and we had to step carefully crossing several pebbles fields walking down one mountain and climbing the next. From Grünalmkogel we worked nine 2m stations including Erwin OE5PEN who was also activating a mountain close by and so we arranged a meeting for the next day.
Late in the evening we arrived safe and sound at our destination and with a “Chilly Blonde” as our beer brewed from wheat is called we were contently looking forward to the next activations.
On Tuesday morning we worked from Hochhirn OE/OO- 218 probably the most challenging of all tour summits with a lot of steep paths, pebble fields and sharp edges and ridges. After five 2m QSOs we also activated Kleiner Höllkogel OE/OO-222 where we had another S-2-S contact with Erwin OE5PEN and Martin OE5REO who was doing SOTA from Kleiner Sonnstein. At midday we had an eyeball QSO with OE5PEN and his XYL which is quite a rare occasion as SOTA activists are usually on different summits on sunny days, so we really enjoyed the nice chat. Afterwards we activated four other summits: Vorderer Kesselgupf OE/OO-216, Eiblgupf OE/OO-220, Mittlerer Kesselgupf OE/OO-219 and late in the evening the highest of all the Hell Mountains with 1862m, Großer Höllkogel OE/OO-022 from where the conditions were also excellent for 2m ssb with our FT-817 and the HB9CV.
After another night at the Rieder hut we started to our last tour over to the eastern end of the Feuerkogel massif where we worked from Alberfeldkogel OE/OO-034, Helmeskogel OE/OO047, and Steinkogel OE/OO-233 the same afternoon. As we hadn’t used our shortwave equipment so far, we decided to do the next summit Heumahdgupf on 40m ssb. Luckily Christian OE5HCE was qrv and posted us on SOTAWATCH and so I did 2m fm while Peter put up the dipole. After finding a comfortable bench in the afternoon sun we settled our pile-up which was easily to manage due to the great discipline of the callers. After a short weiss-beer break we activated Feuerkogel OE/OO-054 in the evening on 2m fm from where we had an excellent view over the lights of the cities Gmunden and Ebensee. After an excellent dinner at the Edelweiß mountain inn where we stayed overnight we started equipped with our head-lights to our last summit doing a night SOTA activation from Plediridl OE/OO-235 where we worked on 2m fm and on 40m ssb.
Thursday morning we returned to Ebensee with the cable car and another 102 SOTA activation points which brought us a bit closer to our Mountain Goat Awards which we finally reached by late September this year after starting with SOTA in July 2009. Hencefore we would also like to take the opportunity to thank all chasers – without them SOTA wouldn’t be possible - and the whole SOTA team for all the efforts. Thanks to this fascinating programme we have both enlarged our knowledge and fitness and visited places we would never have seen without.
As Peter always says: There are three motivations for climbing a mountain: Zirben, Enzian (which are both Austrian schnaps or spirits) and SOTA.
Hoping to hear you soon again from another summit
73 de Inge OE5IRO and Peter OE5RTP.
PS.: Fotos you see in the german report in the forum of “Funkstammtisch”